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Original Emojis to be Exhibited at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York

The museum will show the emojis in its lobby through the end of the year, using 2-D graphics and animations, and connecting the old emojis with the current generation

Examples from the set of 176 original emoji characters, which have been donated to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, are seen in an undated handout image. VOA

October 28, 2016: Move over, Monet. Go away, van Gogh. It’s time for smiley faces, cats and broken hearts at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.

The acclaimed art institution announced Wednesday that it had acquired the original set of 176 emojis. They were a gift to the museum from the phone company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone.

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They are not the adorable, yellow emoticons we know and love (and text) today, but 12-by-12-pixel images created by Japanese mobile carrier NTT DOCOMO. When they were introduced in 1999, they were an instant hit in Japan, but they took more than a decade more to gain worldwide acceptance.

In 2010, Unicode Consortium, which now controls emoji standards, translated the emoji into the Unicode standard, which means that a person in France, for example, can send an emoji to a person in the U.S. and it will look the same, no matter what brand of phone or operating system they use.

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Today, the Unicode Consortium recognizes nearly 1,800 emojis.

“From the start, part of MoMA’s mission has been to display and collect the art [and design] of our time,” said Paola Antonelli, senior curator of the Department of Architecture and Design at the museum. “Our time is lived today in both the digital and the physical space.”

The museum will show the emojis in its lobby through the end of the year, using 2-D graphics and animations, and connecting the old emojis with the current generation.

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“[Emojis] as a concept go back in the centuries, to ideograms, hieroglyphics and other graphic characters, enabling us to draw this beautiful arch that covers all of human history,” Antonelli said. “There is nothing more modern than timeless concepts such as these.” (VOA)

  • Antara

    Emojis in display! Stunning project!

  • Diksha Arya

    The exhibition seems really awesome…

Next Story

Apple, Google Coming Up with Dozens of New Emojis on World Emoji Day

The announcement coincides with Wednesday's World Emoji Day

world emoji day
FILE - Emoji characters are shown on the screens of two mobile phones in Paris, Aug. 6, 2015. VOA

Apple and Google are rolling out dozens of new emojis that of course include cute critters, but the tech giants also continue to push the boundaries of inclusion and diversity. The announcement coincides with Wednesday’s World Emoji Day.

Apple Inc. is releasing new variants of its holding hands emoji that allow people to pick any combination of skin tone and gender, 75 possible combinations in all. There are also wheelchairs, prosthetic arms and legs, as well as a new guide dog and an ear with a hearing aid.

ALSO READ: Here’s Why Instagram Users Want to ‘Throw Away’ the App Now

And then there’s the sloth, the flamingo, the skunk, the orangutan, as well as a new yawning emoji. Apple said its new emojis will be available in the fall with a free software update for the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. (VOA)